Preparing and freezing food is a great way to ensure mealtime speed and ease. It’s also healthier than buying a lot of ready-made, processed food, and more economical for the household budget.
What You Can Freeze—and for How Long
Many foods freeze well, but few are good for extended periods. While food that’s been frozen too long may not be unsafe, it’s unlikely to retain much of its flavour or texture. Never refreeze thawed food. Here are some specific guidelines:
- Bread, muffins, and other baked goods: Up to six weeks.
- Fresh meats and poultry: Up to three months. Most cured meats (such as cold cuts) don’t freeze well.
- Soups, stocks, sauces, stews, gravies, cooked meats, and casseroles: Most freeze well; use two months as a general rule.
- Dairy: Stick butter can last for six months. Many cheeses (for example, edam, Swiss, and ricotta) freeze well for three months. Milk and yogurt separate when frozen.
- Eggs: Can be frozen out of the shell. The whites freeze well; the yolks change texture, so they’re best for scrambling or baking. Separate the whites from the yolks before freezing for baking convenience. Thaw eggs at room temperature—microwaving will cook them.
- Vegetables and fruits: You can freeze any varieties you’ve seen in your supermarket freezer section. Use two months as a general rule. Don’t freeze whole citrus, raw tomatoes, lettuces, or cabbage, all of which lose texture.
- Nuts and seeds: Six weeks is a safe timeframe.
A little thought and care before freezing ensures the best food quality.
- Use freezer-safe packaging. Place foods in freezer bags, plastic wrap designed for freezer use, or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Plastic containers should be freezer-safe; otherwise, they may become brittle when frozen. Casseroles may be frozen in “freezer to oven” cookware; seal them tightly with heavy-duty foil.
- Keep it airtight. Wrap food tightly and squeeze out as much air as possible if you’re using plastic bags. To avoid freezer burn, remove meat from the store packaging and wrap it tightly in foil.
- Label and date your food. To avoid playing “guess the frozen shape” later, use an indelible marker and be specific. Write “4 boneless chicken breasts 1/12/12,” not “Chicken, January.”
- Organise for easy access. Rotate your freezer contents frequently. Multiple-sized, transparent freezer drawers, like those found in the Samsung G-Series, help keep your food in view so it doesn’t get lost for months.
- Choose the right container size. For the quickest freezer-to-table turnaround, freeze foods in the serving quantities you’ll ultimately serve or cook. For example, freeze single servings of soup for lunch packing (and reheating in the cafeteria microwave). Freeze raw boneless pork or beef in chunks for stir-fries. Or freeze enough tomato sauce to make a quick pasta meal for the family.
Food and Refrigerator-Freezer Tips
Maximise the convenience and efficiency of your freezer with these food and equipment tips.
- Think ahead. Double up on quantities when making meals that freeze well, like meatloaf or soups. Make extra muffins or cookies for quick breakfasts or lunch-bag desserts; they’ll thaw well before the noon bell. Take advantage of meat that’s on sale, and freeze a portion.
- Use leftovers. Cut single portions of lasagna and freeze for lunches. When berries or stone fruits are just past their peak, wash, peel if necessary, and slice or puree them to freeze for future smoothies. Squeeze citrus and freeze the juice; ice cube trays are great for freezing small quantities of lemon and lime juice.
- Maintain the temperature. For best food quality, keep your freezer at the optimum temperature of -18 degrees Celcius (0 degrees Fahrenheit). Doing so is easy with Samsung’s Twin Cooling System—available on some models—which controls and generates cooling air for the refrigerator and freezer separately.
- Conserve energy and maximise space. To ensure your freezer is running economically, keep it at least three-quarters full. If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator-freezer, compare Energy Star ratings and look for models that have digital compressors (like the Samsung G-Series), which are more energy-efficient than conventional compressors. Samsung G-Series refrigerator-freezers also give you maximum interior space without taking up more room in your kitchen.
Once you learn the basics of how to freeze food, you’ll be hooked on your freezer’s benefits. And you’ll quickly get into the habit of stocking up on savings and convenience.